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Marketing automation follows a small segment of the buying decision path

Submitted by on Wednesday, 25 May 2011

A term the larger marketing automation firms are trying to promote is dubbed ‘revenue performance management.’ What does this mean? Who’s performance are they hoping to monetize?

It’s been fascinating to me that the major players in the field  insist they ‘know’ the buyer’s decision path. In a recent interview with Jesse Noyes, Steve Woods made this comment:

Once you understand the data in context, you’re going to guide them through the overall buying process, which means more then sending them an email. It’s getting a Twitter message in front of them, getting a Facebook message in front of them, getting a targeted ad in front of them, getting social context involving their peers in front of them. (Underlining mine)

Let’s take this one piece at a time.

CURRENT LEAD/DEMAND GEN TECHNOLOGY DOESN’T FOLLOW BUY PATH

First of all, the way lead gen and marketing automation are currently set up, they are not guiding buyers through their ‘overall buying process,‘ merely the possible solution choice considerations at the tail end of the ‘buy path’.

Think about choosing a car. Does your ‘overall buying process’ begin with which car to choose? Or does it include conversations with your spouse, your decision to buy a new car now, or your changing needs? Think about moving. Is your ‘overall buying process’ about which house to choose?

Of course not. There is so much going on behind-the-scenes that enters the buyer’s decision making – people, relationships, feelings, vendors, timing, policies – that current marketing and selling vehicles don’t address that there is no way to follow a ‘buyer’s path’ with current automation tools, other than the solution-choice segment.

Remember that buyers are merely seeking to resolve a problem – they aren’t necessarily seeking to buy a solution. Until buyers make some basic decisions, engage the people who will touch the solution, recognize they cannot resolve the problem internally, and get appropriate buy-in for a purchase, we can do nothing but address what we see when they show up. We have absolutely no idea what is going on, or why, or what else might be needed except what we’re guessing. Indeed, when we send data we are merely making our best guesses.

On a conversation with one of the  heads of the two leading marketing automation companies, I asked:

  • Do you know how the ‘buyer’ (and it’s not a buyer, is it? It’s merely a name.) you’re following is weighted on the Buying Decision Team?
  • Do you know how many members of the Buying Decision Team are engaged (If they are not all on board, there will be no purchase)?
  • Do you know what they are doing with the data you are sending them?
  • Do you know at which stage of the buying decision path the person is on?
  • Do you know who/what you are in competition with?

His answer: ‘There is no way to know any of that.’ Of course not – not with the model they currently use. So how, said I, are you guiding them through their ‘overall buying process’? [NOTE: I have developed a contact sheet that actually does follow and enroll leads through each of their buy-in stages. I’m looking for additional trial sites. Contact me: Sharondrew@newsalesparadigm.com]

PUTTING ‘IN FRONT OF’ DOESN’T MEAN THEY NEED THAT DATA, OR WILL READ IT

Next. They are sending WHAT to WHOM? Without knowing which stage of the internal change management and buy-in process buyers are in, or what they are doing with the data, or what they need the data for, or what types of data they need,  or who else might need data on their Buying Decision Team, you’re going to follow them on Facebook? Really? If they were looking at your site for some comparative data you’re going to follow them on Facebook? That’s all you have time to do? If they were just using your data to write a paper for school, you’re going to Tweet them? Really?

And what makes you think that because they looked around your site or took a webinar that they need the data you’ve chosen to send? or that they might be prospects?

The current marketing automation capability knows nothing of this. It’s certainly possible to influence and facilitate the entire buyer’s journey, but not the way marketing automation is collecting or scoring data.

Until or unless you get to the point where you can actually know exactly where the buyer is in their entire decision path (90% of which is not solution-related or needs-driven), marketing automation activity is not measuring true performance. It’s actually only monitoring the last bit of activity and ignoring the places where there is certainly a way to influence a purchase.

Why not help from the beginning stages – from the initial idea through to the complete Buying Decision Team agreement. I can do this. Can you? Because until you do, your performance is merely a fraction of what it could be – and so is your revenue.

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I’m seeking partners to do an A/B test on my new lead gen material. Contact me to discuss possibilities for trial. sharondrew@newsalesparadigm.com

Read:  Dirty Little Secrets: why buyers can’t buy and sellers can’t sell and what to do about it.

Or consider purchasing the bundleDirty Little Secrets plus my last book Buying Facilitation®: the new way to sell that influences and expands decisions. These books were written to be read together, as they offer the full complement of concepts to help you learn and understand Buying Facilitation® – the new skill set that gives you the ability to lead buyers through their buying decisions. In addition, you will also receive a bonus illustrated booklet.

Buy the MP3′s of Sharon Drew making live phone prospecting and qualifying calls.

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